Changes in the Returns to Market Making
Since the financial crisis, major U.S. banking institutions have increased their capital ratios in response to tighter capital requirements. Some market analysts have asserted that the higher capital and liquidity requirements are driving up the costs of market making and reducing market liquidity. If regulations were, in fact, increasing the cost of market making, one would expect to see a rise in the expected returns to that activity. In this post, we estimate market-making returns in equity and corporate bond markets to assess the impact of regulations.
Has Liquidity Risk in the Corporate Bond Market Increased?
Recent commentary suggests concern among market participants about corporate bond market liquidity. However, we showed in our previous post that liquidity in the corporate bond market remains ample. One interpretation is that liquidity risk might have increased, even as the average level of liquidity remains sanguine. In this post, we propose a measure of liquidity risk in the corporate bond market and analyze its evolution over time.
Nonlinearity and flight to safety in the risk-return trade-off for stocks and bonds
We document a highly significant, strongly nonlinear dependence of stock and bond returns on past equity market volatility as measured by the VIX. We propose a new estimator for the shape of the nonlinear forecasting relationship that exploits additional variation in the cross section of returns. The nonlinearities are mirror images for stocks and bonds, revealing flight to safety: expected returns increase for stocks when volatility increases from moderate to high levels, while they decline for Treasury securities. These findings provide support for dynamic asset pricing theories where the ...
Redemption Risk of Bond Mutual Funds and Dealer Positioning
Market participants have recently voiced concerns that bond markets seem to become illiquid precisely when they want to sell bonds. Some possible reasons for a decline in corporate bond market liquidity in times of stress include the increasing share of corporate bond ownership by mutual funds and the reduced share of corporate bond ownership by dealers. In this post, we examine the potential effects of outflows from bond mutual funds and the role of dealers? positioning in corporate bonds.
Market liquidity after the financial crisis
This paper examines market liquidity in the post-crisis era in light of concerns that regulatory changes might have reduced dealers? ability and willingness to make markets. We begin with a discussion of the broader trading environment, including an overview of regulations and their potential effects on dealer balance sheets and market making, but also considering additional drivers of market liquidity. We document a stagnation of dealer balance sheets after the financial crisis of 2007-09, which occurred concurrently with dealer balance sheet deleveraging. However, using high-frequency trade ...
Corporate Bond Market Liquidity Redux: More Price-Based Evidence
In a recent post, we presented some preliminary evidence suggesting that corporate bond market liquidity is ample. That evidence relied on bid-ask spread and price impact measures. The findings generated significant discussion, with some market participants wondering about the magnitudes of our estimates, their robustness, and whether such measures adequately capture recent changes in liquidity. In this post, we revisit these measures to more thoroughly document how they have varied over time and the importance of particular estimation approaches, trade size, trade frequency, and the ...
An index of Treasury Market liquidity: 1991-2017
Order book and transactions data from the U.S. Treasury securities market are used to calculate daily measures of bid-ask spreads, depth, and price impact for a twenty-six-year sample period (1991-2017). From these measures, a daily index of Treasury market liquidity is constructed, reflecting the fact that the varying measures capture different aspects of market liquidity. The liquidity index is then correlated with various metrics of funding liquidity, volatility, and macroeconomic conditions. The liquidity index points to poor liquidity during the 2007-09 financial crisis and around the ...
What's Driving Dealer Balance Sheet Stagnation?
Securities brokers and dealers (?dealers?) engage in the business of trading securities on behalf of their customers and for their own account, and use their balance sheets primarily for trading operations, particularly for market making. Total financial assets of dealers in the United States have not shown any growth since 2009. This stagnation in their balance sheets raises the worry that dealers? market-making capacity could be constrained, adversely affecting market liquidity. In this post, we investigate the stagnation of dealer balance sheets, focusing particularly on the boom and bust ...
Has U.S. Treasury Market Liquidity Deteriorated?
The issue of financial market liquidity has received tremendous attention lately. This partly arises from market participants' concerns that regulatory and structural changes have reduced dealers' market making abilities, but also from events such as the taper tantrum and the flash rally, in which Treasury prices fluctuated sharply amid seemingly little news. But is there really evidence of a sustained reduction in Treasury market liquidity?
Global variance term premia and intermediary risk appetite
Sellers of variance swaps earn time-varying risk premia for their exposure to realized variance, the level of variance swap rates, and the slope of the variance swap curve. To measure risk premia, we estimate a dynamic term structure model that decomposes variance swap rates into expected variances and term premia. Empirically, we document a strong global factor structure in variance term premia across the U.S., U.K., Europe, and Japan. We further show that variance term premia are negatively correlated with the risk appetite of hedge funds, broker-dealers, and mutual funds. Our results ...